Summer of '49 has been steadily improving its level of play for about 6-7 seasons now. Wouldn't say we're a "top", super-balanced world yet, but we're getting there. Signs that we're a well-run, competitive world that's a good place for quality owners to stake a claim:
* Only 1 team under 60 wins last year (59) and 2 over 100 (neither made to their league's LCS); the year before we had 2 under 60 wins and 2 over 100
* We do have a minimum win requirement (competition committee can boot an owner that wins less than 65 games 2 seasons in a row...3 in a row is automatic boot)
* Active, well-read blog at www.summerof49blog.blogspot.com
* Key indicator: steadily declining ave runs per team per game (more owners paying attention to rested pitching staffs, better defense, etc.)
3 2 1 openings at the beginning of Season 30:
NL East (formerly Chicago) : After long success under the original owner, this franchise has hit one of those transition phases. It's not in bad shape at all, just in that "pretty good" state that needs some bold moves to break through. They've added some top free agents in recent years ( Gus Lo , Steve Charleston , Omir Hill ) to go with outstanding home-grown talents Geoff O'Sullivan and Wiki Mota . Outside of last year's #1 pick (2B Louis Sefcik , #7 overall) they don't have much of a farm system, so it's trades or free agency for any near-term improvement. Their committed ML payroll is right at $98MM, not counting 3 upcoming arb cases. They have the #13 pick in the Season 30 draft.
NL West (formerly Salem): The bad news is they slipped to 59 wins last year (after a 9-year stretch where they won 84+ games 7 times). The good news is that the ML roster is pretty well cleared out (only 12 on the roster, and 5 of those are upcoming arb cases) - you're starting with pretty much a clean slate. The only ML asset of note is slugger Artie Osterbrock , whose best use now is probably as a trade chip. They do have a few promising prospects - OF TIno Taylor can help this year, C Dillon Simpson this year or next. This one's a rebuilder to be sure, but at least the tear-down part is done. Committed ML payroll - $16.5MM. Draft order this year: #1.
AL North (formerly Chicago): won the division (87 wins this year) to extend their streak of winning seasons to 11. This team revolves around CF David Feliz, who just missed a 2nd straight MVP and GG this year (4 straight Silver Sluggers). There's plenty more firepower on the ML roster, though, including SP Ivan Silva, SP Rex Moore, 3B Carlos Mercedes (note, Mercedes is a free agent and his signability status is unknown), DH Ernest Arroyo and others. The farm system is thin, although last year's top pick, Ronnie Langston (#25 overall), looks like he could develop into a pretty good power-hitting infielder. Committed ML payroll: a very trim $46MM. Draft order this year: #23
Contact commissioner gtnotes with interest in any of these openings.
We're looking for experienced owners who want to build a team long-term. We'll consider newer HBDers but ask that you have at least 2 seasons previsouly.